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Social Development Study

UW Autism Center

What is the purpose of this study?

The purpose of this study is to understand the social and communication development of infants who have an older sibling(s) with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).  We assess the growth of social and communicative skills at several time points, starting at six months of age and ending at 36 months of age. We hope this study will provide new information that will assist in the early identification of ASDs and improve early intervention and prevention.

This study is being conducted in conjunction with Vanderbilt University and the University of Miami.

Who may participate? What are the criteria?

  • Babies younger than 13 months who have an older sibling with an ASD may participate in this study.
  • Babies younger than 13 months who have an older sibling with typical development and no family history of ASD may participate in this study.

What does participation in the study mean?

Participation in this study involves the completion of questionnaires as well as several visits to the UW Autism Center. During these visits, infants’ social and communicative skills will be assessed as they play and interact with their parents, and with a trained researcher. These skills will also be examined through assessments administered by a trained examiner.

What is the time commitment for participation in the study?

Infants who begin the assessments at 6 months of age will have a total of 9 visits to the UW Seattle campus. Infants who begin the assessments at 12 months of age will have a total of 5 visits to the UW Seattle campus. Parents will also be asked to fill out questionnaires about their infant’s development at the time of each visit. Children will receive assessments of their social and communication behavior at each visit, and will receive diagnostic evaluations at 24 months and 36 months of age. Participating families will receive up to $675 for their time and effort.

What will my family get out of the study?

By participating in the Social Development Study, parents will receive feedback about the development of their younger child. Results from the assessments may be used for educational planning. In addition, parents will receive information that may help them monitor their child’s development and obtain referrals for additional evaluations or specialized early intervention services (if necessary) as early as possible.  Parents may request and receive a report based on data from their child’s participation in the study.

What are the risks to participating in this study and what safeguards are in place to minimize any risks?

This study is approved by a human subjects committee at the University of Washington and all efforts are made to minimize any potential risks. There are no known psychological or physical risks associated with any of the procedures. Clinicians working with families in the ADS have extensive experience and expertise in working with families with children with autism and will be available to answer questions and provide additional referrals if necessary.

Whom should I contact to get involved?

We are no longer recruiting for this study.

To learn more about participating in any of our other studies, please contact the resource coordinator at 1.877.408.UWAC or email us at*.

*Please remember we cannot guarantee the confidentiality of email.